Survey Results: How Was the First Week?

Survey Results: How Was the First Week?
Posted on 08/25/2020
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Lakota Local Schools values feedback from its families, students, staff and community. Beginning on March 13 when Lakota closed its doors to in-person learning due to the state-mandated shutdown of schools because of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), the district began gathering feedback about everything from the remote learning process to looking ahead to the 2020-2021 school year to feedback on the first days of school. District leaders use the feedback to help guide their decisions on how to best meet the needs of its students. 

Following the first-time staggered start to the new school year, the district surveyed parents, staff and secondary students about the first days of school. A separate survey was sent for in-person and virtual learning.

In-Person Survey

More than 6,500 responses were recorded for the in-person survey, with 65 percent identified as parents or guardians, 19 percent as students and 16 percent staff members. More than 85 percent said that the most positive part of the first week of school was students interacting with their peers. This was followed closely by students being able to be with their teachers (nearly 82 percent). The supporting and caring staff came in third with nearly 52 percent. A Cherokee parent commented, “My fifth grader was excited to be back at school. After only two days, I can see how important in-class learning and socializing is for him. Cherokee is doing an awesome job.”

The overwhelming majority of respondents (93 percent) said that they or their student felt very safe (46 percent) or pretty safe (47 percent) at school. Student learning was only impacted a little bit (49 percent) or not at all (38 percent) by the new classroom safety protocols. 

About one quarter of the respondents felt that daily routines (21 percent) or lunch (22 percent) were significantly impacted by the safety protocols. Concerns were noted about being able to maintain physical distancing in classrooms when all students begin attending school on Aug. 24. Other feedback included the lack of playground equipment during recess and sitting every other seat at lunch and the need for more mask breaks during the day. “We closely follow the guidelines of the Butler County Health Department, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” said Superintendent Matthew Miller. The district’s plans to reopen its buildings have been approved by the Butler County Health Commissioner. Miller continues to have regular conversations and meetings with the commissioner. “Our return to school is a very fluid situation,” he continued. “We will adjust our plans as needed and make changes that are in the best interest of our students and staff.” 

Virtual Learning Survey

With nearly 1,500 responses, over 75 percent of virtual learning parents felt that there was a personal connection with their student’s teacher during the first days of school. “Lakota’s Virtual Learning Option is new for all of us and we want and need feedback from our families,” said Keith Koehne, Lakota’s executive director of curriculum and instruction. “We want to make sure that our students maintain a connection to our teachers and our schools even though they have chosen virtual learning.” 

The VLO survey focused on the comfort level of accessing the curriculum and navigating student schedules, grading and expectations, as well as the most positive aspects of the first week as well as the challenges.

The most positive aspects of the first week included getting to know the teachers (65 percent), having the flexibility to set their own learning schedule (60 percent) and having the opportunity to engage with teachers and classmates (56 percent).

The biggest challenges included the limited interaction with other students (45 percent) and unclear learning expectations (35 percent). Comments also included the need for consistent methods of communication and more guidance regarding Zoom meetings and structure for classes.

As the district moves forward with the 2020-2021 school year, it will continue to gather input from parents, staff and secondary students. A new survey will be shared for in-person learning towards the end of this week to gather additional feedback about the first full week of school with all students in the buildings. Lakota’s curriculum department will share a second survey with VLO families in the coming weeks.